Today marks the anniversary of the death of Merle Haggard in 2016, which was the same day the outlaw country legend turned 79-years-old. Born on this date in 1937, the California-native went on to help define country music’s Bakersfield Sound. Haggard was responsible for writing and recording an impressive catalog of original songs many of which have been covered by other artists.
This edition of Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist made up of many of those covers of Haggard’s classic songs. The set features musicians both within and outside the realm of country music and recordings from across the past 50 years.
Some songs appear multiple times, such as Haggard’s well-known anthem “Okie From Muskogee” which was recorded by Leon Russell, Melvins, Kris Kristofferson and Phil Ochs. Semi-biographical tales of prison, “Mama Tried” and “Sing Me Back Home,” can be heard performed by the Grateful Dead and The Everly Brothers, with additional editions of the former by John Scofield, Old 97’s, Percy Sledge and others and versions of the latter by The Flying Burrito Brothers, Marianne Faithfull & Keith Richards and Haggard’s fellow Bakersfield Sound pioneer Buck Owens.
Tim Bluhm and Emmylou Harris can be heard offering their takes on one of Merle’s final songs, “Kern River.” There are also multiple covers of “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Ramblin’ Fever” and others. The playlist includes tracks by Willie Nelson, George Jones, The Byrds, Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, John Fogerty, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker, Jimmy Buffett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marty Robbins, Jorma Kaukonen, Phosphorescent, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and more.